What to Do if a Client Accuses a Company of Stealing
It could be that you run a cleaning business and one of your clients accuses you of taking valuables from his house. Maybe you have a research company that has been developing software, and one of your clients, whom you have discussed the project with, accuses you of intellectual property theft -- that the idea was his brainchild and now you want to develop, patent and profit from it. Cases of clients accusing companies of stealing are not unusual. Though some have merit, others may be due to misunderstandings. Develop a strategy that will ensure you resolve the matter within reasonable parameters.
Being accused of theft can have serious ramifications. You may lose your reputation, business license or clients, depending on the kind of industry you are in. Some companies simply block off communication with clients who raise accusations of theft. This is not very prudent, because the individual may have a genuine reason to complain. Listening to the client may present you with the opportunity to explain yourself better. Your company should have a complaints desk or department charged with resolving such matters to avoid escalation.
Once you have a properly recorded complaint, proceed to carry out an investigation to establish the veracity of the claim. Assign the case to management personnel competent to handle such allegations so that the matter can be dealt with in-house. Typically, the client should explain his position fully by presenting documentary evidence if possible. Seek to determine whether the client has a genuine grievance that has implications on the operations of the company or if it is just a simple misunderstanding.
Aim to resolve the matter so that both parties do not feel taken advantage of. Based on the evidence, determine if the actual event took place. If you find that there was some form of malpractice, meet with the client and explain the issue so as to resolve it. Initiate a discussion geared toward compensation to try and indemnify the aggrieved party. If it is established that theft did not occur, accurately explain to the client in a bid to rest the matter. Try to mitigate costly litigation and negative publicity.
The experience your company goes through in this regard should be a worthy lesson to be used in devising strategy to help guard against future malpractice, allegations or misunderstandings. It is possible your employees may be involved in questionable activities for a quick buck that put your company in jeopardy. Implement a code of conduct that espouses ethical behavior and ensure your workforce is conversant with it and other company policies. Depending on the nature of your business and if you can afford it, retain a company attorney or have a human resources section specifically tasked with handling similar situations.